Opera Diva and ZinZanni San Francisco veteran Kristin Clayton gives us her take on her first run with our Seattle tent. Let’s hit some high notes!
How would you describe your talent?
I am a Lyric Soprano Opera Singer, married to a fellow opera singer, Bass-baritone Bojan Knezevic and we live in San Francisco, CA where we met in the Young Artist’s program of the SF Opera in 1993.
How long have you been performing with ZinZanni?
I have been performing with Teatro ZinZanni for 12 years and had the amazing privilege of opening and closing the show at ZinZanni San Francisco. I don’t know if I knew during those years how important ZinZanni would become for me and how much the city would miss the exciting, intriguing spiegeltent between Piers 27 & 29 on the Embarcadero.
What has been your favorite show to perform in and why?
My favorite show, I think, was the very first version of License to Kiss because I got to play the villain, with a character named Leona Wonkenheimer, who fell in love with and was redeemed by a robot dog!!
This is your first time at the Seattle tent, what do you think?
Seattle is fantastic!! The tent here is a little bit bigger, but feels basically the same when we are all out there together performing the show. There have been so many of us, through the years, and I’ve made so many close friends as we’ve rotated through all the different versions, but it has been great to come to the city where it all started. Norm Langill (ZinZanni President & Artistic Director) and Reenie Duff (Associate Artistic Director) are incredible at finding the highest caliber of people in the business, which I think is one of the most important aspects of Teatro ZinZanni’s success. Our show is so intimate with the audience, so it is vital that these performers, with unbelievable talent, are also solid, grounded human beings. The staff, also, has so much experience with assisting and supporting us in every way. We could not do it without each and every one of them.
The Seattle audience is really great and not surprisingly, very different from the San Francisco audience. I think in SF, there is a big mix of locals, tourists and business people, who in general, are not as “laid back” in their attitudes and expectations when they go out to be entertained. Here in Seattle, I feel people are a little more “down to earth” and I don’t feel a sort of “preconceived notion” of what they expect when they come to ZinZanni. But in both cities, everyone seems pleasantly surprised at the evening and that it is an especially great place to celebrate the special occasions in their lives.
Do you think performing at our San Francisco location better prepared you for Seattle?
Yes, absolutely… all my years at ZinZanni SF have made me feel incredibly at home and very welcomed in Seattle.
Have you gotten to explore the city? Where have you been?
I have enjoyed getting to know Seattle so much. Pike Market and Post Alley are fantastic! I found a great masseuse on Capitol Hill and a fabulous tea shop called Perennial Tea Room. (You know how we opera singers love our tea!) I also got to see the Chittenden Locks in Ballard. And when the family visits, we have so much fun right here in Queen Anne and at the Seattle Center fountain.
Would you come back?
I would come back in a heartbeat!!
What is one cirque act/talent you secretly wish you could do?
I have been so close to so many great circus performers over the years, but I might have to say that the contortionists are just amazing to me. If my body could bend like that, I’d be on cloud nine.
What is next for you?
With only 1 more week of our run, I’ll be heading back home to SF to re-connect with family and our life there. I have several concerts this summer in the Bay area and a trip to New York planned for the fall. A Diva’s life is always on the go!!